No matter what your career goal, LinkedIn “Find Alumni” should be your next step in starting a conversation about your future.
LinkedIn is a helpful tool in connecting with peers and acquaintances in your current field to endorse you, keep connected and maintain an online resume – but there’s also a way to show your ambition by directly reaching out to the person YOU want to be.
If you’ve never tried the “Find Alumni” tool, it’s a great way to search for connections in your potential industry and conduct informational interviews to gather knowledge on positions, advice on getting the job and likely making an important connection. I took advantage of this feature and made a connection with someone who is key in assisting my success for the future. After reaching out and having a very informative conversation, we’ve kept in touch and I now have a genuine mentor in the top company I dream to be employed by.
The next steps will show you how this can be a beneficial tool for you to use.
- Narrow Your Search
The first step in using this tool is to be direct in your keywords. If you have a specific company you strive to work for, type that into the “Search This Set” area. It may not be likely there’s someone with the exact company you’re considering, if this is the case, you can type in a general occupation such as: engineering, journalism, teaching, etc…to broaden your search. There are also options to type in your university and location if you prefer to search under those terms. This will not only search your connections, but secondary connections as well – so there’s a great deal of options.
- Searching for “The One”
After your list has been narrowed, dig a little deeper to find that one (or more) alumni that has the most in common with what’s parallel to your future. If someone is working at a company that you are most interested in, that’s who you should reach out to for conversation – even if it isn’t the exact job you’re looking to get into. In conversation, this person will most likely have co-workers in the position you’re interested in and connect you for future conversations. It’s also important to reach out to other connections in the industry that do not directly work for a business you have initially looked at – opportunities are endless and a company you haven’t heard of, could very well surprise you.
- “Link” Up with the Future
Here’s the part most people are timid about – reaching out to a connection. Ambition is always impressive – that paired with your eagerness to learn should be your motivation to get the conversation started. Connecting by messaging the alumni shows your passion for the field and your interest in hearing their story. Set a place and time — then make it happen!
- We Need to Talk
Once a conversation is set, make sure to have a list of questions with you as you’re speaking with your connection. Starting the conversation should be easy – there’s a reason you connected whether you went to the same school, know the same person or live in the same area. It’s important to be confident and eager (but not overly of either) when asking questions. Express your interests, seek advice, find out their story and how they got to where they are and ask to keep in touch – this is key to creating opportunity for future conversations. Also, be sure to write a thank you (message or email depending if you’ve received contact information) to this person to show that their time was valuable to you.
No matter what your industry, the “Find Alumni” tool will be helpful to your future. Getting into an industry is certainly about what you know – but often it’s more about who you know. Take ahold of your future by taking advantage of this tool.